Archive for the ‘Dufferism’ Category

Once, twice, three times a beanie (aka Goldilocks and the three beanies)

A little while ago, I decided to knit a beanie as a gift for a friend. I had a hat’s worth of yarn in stash in a colour that suits her very well, so it seemed that fate had intervened and the project was obviously meant to be.

Initially I cast on for Porom. The twists looked a bit puffy, but mostly it looked good. That is, until I finished it and blocked it. What was once a nicely-sized slouchy beanie had turned into a perfectly good shopping bag, without handles.

Slightly disillusioned but as stubborn as ever, I ripped it back and reused the yarn in an Icing Swirl Hat. It soon became apparent that it was far too small. So again I ripped the hat back, and soaked the kinks out of yarn. The yarn was starting to lose its structural integrity by this stage, and my disillusionment was starting to grow. As was my stubbornness, for that matter.

I don’t have photographic evidence of either of those mishaps, which is quite fortunate as it means I’ll most likely remember that yarn as this beanie:


Anna Karenina by Veruschka Babuschka
Not very much Bendigo Woollen Mills Luxury 8ply, Cream
2.75mm and 3.25mm needles
Start: August 2010
Finish: August 2010
Modifications: different yarn
Ravelryed: here

The pattern hadn’t been long published when I knit this beanie up. It was a nice easy knit, with just enough variation to make it interesting. Having two beanie failures ended up being a blessing in disguise — of the three patterns, I think this one turned out the best and I’m really pleased with it.

Anna close up

This isn’t the first time I’ve used Luxury, but I must admit I’m a bit frustrated with it. While it’s a lovely soft yarn and comes in quite a few nice colours, it drops quite a lot after its first watch (see Porom). Sadly, I don’t think this is an uncommon problem. I had been planning to make a few bigger things using Luxury 4ply, but I am now a bit Luxury-shy.

Who would have thought all of this was down to not swatching? I tend to swatch for larger garments, but take for granted that for something relatively small, like a hat, would be ok without a test swatch. I have learnt my lesson.


Before indulging in a Japan roundup post, I should mention how I went in the recent Ravelympics. Sad to say, I didn’t complete my project. This wasn’t much of a surprise, as the only real knitting time I thought I would have during the Olympics was on the plane to Japan and a couple of longer train rides. What did surprise me was how little I achieved.


I made a mistake early on, and even the smallest mistake with Henry, unless caught very early, means a whole lot of ripping back. My enthusiasm drained pretty quickly at that point. On top of that, it appears I misunderstood the rules for taking knitting needles on international flights. Soon after takeoff, I was told knitting on the plane was not allowed as the change to the prohibited item list only applied to domestic flights. This didn’t seem right to me, as I’d heard of others knitting on international flights departing from Australia without issue, but thought it best not to argue.

So yes, my Ravelympics effort was a bit of a washout. That’s perfectly all right though, Henry will now be my project for the Bendigo Sheep and Wool Show. Given that’s still months away, it’s a much more relaxed goal and should (!!) be easily achievable.

Despite my previous claim about not having much time for knitting over the past couple of weeks, a little bit of knitting did occur; enough to finish off this fellow:


Elijah by Ysolda Teague
Approximately 100 grams of Lincraft Balmoral Tweed
Black embroidery thread
3.25mm double pointed needles
Started: February 2010
Finished: February 2010
Ravelryed: here

He was made as a thank you gift to our wonderful hosts in Tokyo. He was mostly done before we left, but his eyes and ears were finished while away. The only differences between this Elijah and previous Elijahs were slightly larger needles, accommodating for the slightly heavier yarn used (a 10 ply was used this time rather than the 8 ply used previously). I also used a little bit less stuffing, which makes him a bit easier to pose.

As this is the third time I’ve made Elijah, it’s hard to say whether this is now the end of my Elijah career. It would be good to try different patterns for toys as gifts, but at the same time it’s hard to go past him as he’s a fun and interesting pattern to knit, with such cute results.

2009 – the year of the duffer

2009 knitting mosaic.jpg

If this post was to be one word long, ‘duffer’ is probably the most appropriate way to sum up this year in knitting. It’s been a bit of a ‘wheel spinning in the mud, not getting anywhere fast’ type of year, with all the reknitting I did. That’s perfectly OK though; it’s helped me realise that patience isn’t as overrated as I always thought it was.

I’m really happy with how all this year’s projects turned out, but strangely I don’t have much to say about them. My favourite colours, green and brown, were well represented and I became a bit more adventurous with pattern modifications.

This year my partner Matt released a couple of knitting apps for the iPhone. While not my achievement, I’m still immensely proud of Matt and the effort he put in for a couple of tools to make my knitting life a little easier. I can’t even begin to describe how pleased it makes me to hear that the apps are also useful to other knitters and crocheters – the support and suggestions from the knitting and crocheting community has been nothing short of amazing.

Outside of knitting, I finally tried my hand at some other crafts, and was pleasantly surprised by the results. Unfortunately these other crafty activities took a back seat when I left Brown Owls to move interstate, but non-knitterly crafty activities haven’t been far from my mind. Going from thoughts to reality is sometimes the hardest part of the process, I think.

Finally, I also tried my hand at selling some of my knitterly wares. By far, this was the most daunting thing I did this year. Going to market was a lot of fun, and nerve-wracking all at the same time. I will try again next year, with a little bit more wisdom and a lot more organisation.

Perhaps the word for 2009 should be ‘wonderment’, I think my pleasant surprise has been mentioned in just about every paragraph!

On that note, I think this dufferly wonderment of a year from the Pransellknit perspective has been covered. Thank you everyone for reading my funny little blog. I hope I’ll see you again in 2010!

Persistence makes the heart grow fonder


The back of Victory is sort of finished and the front is well on the way. I can’t quite claim the back as finished, as the stripe sequence is a bit… off. While idly reading through the pattern after finishing the back, it became apparent that I really hadn’t paid enough attention. On the right hand side of the photo is the back piece and on the left hand side is the in-progress front piece, featuring the correct stripe sequence.

Normally a mistake of this size would result in the offending project (because it’s obviously its fault and not mine) being placed (or tossed, depending on mood) into a corner so it can think about what it’s done. Projects like Matt’s Suave Sweater received such punishment. This project’s a bit different. I kept going, following the pattern properly for the front. It really comes as no surprise, but it does look better with the correct stripe sequence. So once the front is finished, I’ll rip out most of the back and redo it.

The ribbing is excruciatingly boring and the combination of 100+ stitches, 4ply yarn and 3.25mm means it’s by no means a quick knit. However, the non-ribbing sections are really enjoyable and I can’t wait to see what the finished product will look like.

I’m hoping I’ve turned a corner as a result of this recent large boo boo. Hopefully I’ll avoid the silly mistakes by not rushing into a project. Hopefully I’ll be a bit more relaxed when things go awry. I’ll just have to wait until the next spate of dufferism to find out I guess!

A suave sweater saga

This blog had an unintentional break in transmission, largely due to the lack of writing material. I have been knitting, but they are projects that I can’t quite blog about just yet. In the meantime, I thought I’d break up the radio silence with a story about my next (bloggable) project.

This project was started in 2005, after finding the pattern in a local op shop. The title of the pattern book is Suave Sweaters. Unfortunately I seem to have misplaced the pattern book, but if you think along the lines of ‘Men’s jumpers from the 70s, vacuumed sealed onto the model’, you’re in the ball park. Within this gem of a book, was a nice diagonal rib jumper that I thought would look good on Matt, in a non vacuum sealed form.


So off I went, and in my usual slow and steady pace, finished all parts of the jumper by 2006 (admittedly it was a 5ply pattern, using 3mm needles). As I was seaming it up, I got Matt to try it on, and it was HUGE. The sleeves were more like drop, rather than set in, sleeves, and you could reasonably fit 1.5 Matts in the body.

DSC_0842 (1).jpg

Down, but not out, I frogged it all and started again. The second time round it took me a bit longer due to a slight lack of interest and the gauge conversions to get the parts right. Being slightly wiser, the parts were measured against Matt at regular intervals and everything seemed to be going swimmingly. Until seaming.


I had managed to screw up the conversion at the armscye, so the sleeve caps were waaaaaay too small. Slightly more forlorn than the first time, the suave sweater sat in my pile of ‘to do’ knits for another year or so. Now I think I’m ready to tackle it again.

I have a handy dandy calculator in hand and a little bit more knitting experience under my belt. Hopefully it’ll be third time lucky.

Does this make me a process knitter? Or just stubborn (or foolish)?

This project brought out the duffer in me

Not sure what exactly it was about my green cardi, but whenever I did anything with it, it seemed to suck the common sense right out of me.

First it was not getting the fronts even, then it was forgetting that I could take passable flash photos using the external flash bought from a recent school fete for the princely sum of five dollars.

So, the Tyrolean, or Duffer, Cardigan is now finished.


Tyrolean Cardigan from Vintage Knits by Sarah Dallas
4.25 balls of Panda Pure Wool, dark green
3.25 and 4.00 mm needles
Start: August 2008
Finish: June 2009
Ravelryed here

Overall, I’m quite happy with it. The bobbles look good, it’s warm (very important now it’s getting proper cold here), and the buttons match well. I suspect that I may have mentioned it in a previous post, but the yarn and buttons were stash, and I already had the book. That in itself pleases me as much as the finished product!


The only modification made to the pattern was to lengthen it slightly to accommodate my longish body. The cardigan body is a perhaps a bit boxy for my body, but that’s easily solved by only using the buttons around the waist. If I were to do it over again, waist shaping a la the non-cropped, non-tryst vest might be a better option for me. That said, I’m sure this is something I’ll be wearing a lot.

The gentle art of being a duffer


The four days off at Easter makes this place a hive of productivity. It’s not stressful like the Christmas holidays are and the weather is much more conducive to productive work. This Easter, I was determined to finish off all the major knitting for my Tyrolean Cardigan. Good Friday I sat down and knit and knit and knit and knit and faffed on Ravelry and then knit some more. Finally, yesterday afternoon, the second sleeve was cast off, folded it up and put it with the pile of Tyrolean Cardigan parts ready for blocking. At this point, I was feeling rather chuffed that I had finished something within the completely non-binding non-verballised timeframe.

Then I blocked it and marvelled at how nicely the stitches had settled the pieces were pinned out. It was then that something seemed amiss with the front pieces. No amount of pushing and pulling would make them look like mirror images of one another. Turns out one is 5 rows shorter than the other.

Normally I’d try to fudge it and hope that it’d look alright once it was seamed up, but it doesn’t seem possible in this instance because the bobbles draw too much attention to the discrepancy. Luckily my dufferism only occurred at the cast off and decreases for the neckline, so it shouldn’t take too long to fix. To be honest, I’m not sure how I managed to muck it up like that, but by golly it’s a good lesson in carefully checking over measurements before gleefully casting off and loudly proclaiming ‘Finished!’.